The Marriage Act 1949 allows a building that has been certified as a place of religious worship to also be registered for the solemnization of marriages between a man and a woman and/or marriages of same sex couples (if the building is not already certified as a place of worship, then the two applications can be made at the same time). Same sex couples wishing to convert their civil partnership into a marriage in a religious building may only do so if the building has been registered for the solemnization of marriages of same sex couples.
An application form for the registration of a place of worship for the solemnization of marriages (Form 78) must be signed in duplicate by a minimum of twenty householders who regard the building as their usual place of worship and then countersigned by the proprietor or trustee of the building. For marriages of same sex couples, the duplicate application forms must be accompanied by a declaration that the consent of the relevant governing body has been obtained (Form 78A) together with a copy of that consent.
The applicant will be asked to supply the following information:
- The full name by which the place of worship is known.
- The precise address of the building. If the building has a number and a name, both should be stated.
- The building’s date of certification for worship and its worship number. This information will be on the certificate of registration returned to you by your local superintendent registrar (not required when registering for worship and marriages at the same time).
- The name of the religious organisation which uses the building. This should be different to the name of the building.
- The signature, name and address of at least twenty householders who use the place for religious public worship.
- The date that the householders sign the certificate.
- The person who countersigns the form must not have also signed as a householder. The counter signatory must be either the proprietor/owner or a trustee of the building.
- The date the certificate was countersigned. This date must not be prior to when the certificate was signed by the householders.
- The person who signs the application must be either the proprietor/owner or trustee of the building, who should enter the date the application was signed. This date must be within one month of the date of the householder’s certificate.
- Confirmation that public access is allowed to any marriage that takes place.
- A copy of the intended marriage service.
A fee of £123 should be paid online when submitting your application. If the building has already been registered for the solemnization of marriages and you wish it to be registered for the solemnization of marriages of same sex couples, a fee of £64 is applicable instead.
There is no requirement for Jewish Synagogues and meeting houses of the Society of Friends to register their buildings.
Once the General Register Office has certified a building for marriages between a man and a woman and/or marriages of same sex couples, the local Register Office is required to advertise the new place for marriages in a local newspaper and in the London Gazette.